The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark short-term interest rate near zero but signaled that a rate hike is still on the table "at its next meeting," scheduled for December. The central bank acknowledged "the pace of job gains slowed" while at the same time pointing to a continuation of "moderate" economic growth. The central bank also showed less worry about global financial and economic developments hurting the U.S. economy than it did at its September meeting. "In determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting," the Fed said, top officials will reassess progress toward maximum employment and inflation rising toward its 2% target. The vote was 9 to 1, with Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker dissenting for the second meeting in a row. Lacker wants to raise the so-called fed funds rate to 0.25 points.
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